Tuesday, July 25, 2006


After an impromptu wedding decimated the ranks of female players on Poach this week, I was a bit apprehensive about our chances for last night's game.

I was even more terrified when I showed up at 6:30 on the dot to find myself the 5th player at the field. Fortunately we ended up with 8 players for the evening, and the other team had a lot of newbies (and only one woman with any clue about where to run), so playing iron woman wasn't a problem, and we kicked ass! I even attempted a layout twice. Sadly, on neither occasion did I make the catch... one might argue that the layout attempts were gratuitous, but how do you know until you try?

We even went out afterwards to celebrate our 15-4 victory :)

BTW, don't quote me on game scores... apparently we won last week's migraine-infested game 17-15, not 17-16 as I had earlier stated (or 16-14 as our opponents entered into Leaguerunner).

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


It is always nerve-racking when one of your friends is in the hospital... even more so when they are at the hospital for a full week without a diagnosis, and with changing symptoms.

Thank goodness I can put the worrying on pause! I want my friend back home where she belongs; and it looks like that may just happen by the end of this week (knock on wood). Yippee!


She came home yesterday! :) :) :) :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ulti and Migraines Don't Mix

I started missing catches partway through our game last night, and realized that my eyes were functioning as if I'd been staring at the sun for too long... however, it wasn't until my peripheral vision started clouding over that I realized I was under attack by "the dreaded migraine".

Two advil and many points spent with my feet up on a chair later, the visual effects were gone and I was back on the field. I played much better for those points, if I do say so myself, getting a couple of D-blocks; but I didn't make it through the entire game prior to the materialization of the anticipated knife-like headache.

Fortunately, it wasn't so bad that I was unable to sleep; and a little over nine hours of sleep later, I'm not in pain anymore. Although I do feel somewhat like a used dish rag - wrung out and somewhat grotty.

On the good news side, we finally won a game! Damn good thing too - we won it 17-16 while playing with no male subs (and the first couple of points we went 4-3 the wrong way). If we'd lost it by less than two points after Bird and Michelle arrived on time and the other team counted points against us for lateness, Bird would have imploded.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Playing Catchup

So, due to an unfortunate encounter with the Blogger engine last Thursday, and then a singular lack of time, I have thus far failed to blog a little over half of my trip to Germany. Look for this to be rectified over the next few days. As a starting point, here's what I did last Tuesday:

Woke up late!!! Very late! Just lucky that someone on staff at the hostel came in to clean, or I might have missed my checkout time. Turned out that my cellphone ran out of batteries overnight, so I was reduced to acquiring a travel alarm clock to handle the job.

The upshot of all this was that instead of getting up early to do some things without having to haul my stuff all over Heidelberg, I got to do those things carrying my 10 kilos of personal belongings.

I elected to walk the hour plus to the Heidelberg Zoo, then spent an hour and a half wandering around the zoo, then 45 minutes wandering around the botanical garden, before wandering back to the train station to return to Frankfurt. In all, about 4 hours of constant walking, and I was fortunate enough that it was ~35 degrees in that part of Germany... gotta love the sweating! By the time I made it to the Stay and Learn Hostel in Frankfurt, I was drenched and disgusting.

The zoo was actually quite good - they had many of the wild cats, a good selection of monkeys/chimps/gorillas and a nice collection of bright and beautiful birds. Much less open concept than the zoos I saw in Australia and New Zealand, but not too scary in terms of living conditions for the animals.

The botanical garden was not that impressive, though they did have a neat mountainous section, but I still liked the pretty flowers.

However, far be it for four hours of determined walking in the hot sun to stop me from getting a good look at fan frenzy in Germany!

The fan fest setup was very cool - there was a humongous double-sided flat screen plunked right in the middle of the Main river in Frankfurt, and stands to seat 15000 people set up on both sides of the river. Everybody was draped in German flags and painted with German flag tattoos on their cheeks; there were even a large number of Mohawk wigs in German colours on display.

Only a few brave Italy fans could be spotted at the fan fest - most of them sensibly retreated to the many Italian pubs and restaurants around the city that were showing the semi-final game.

The noise was deafening - in addition to the standard yelling and cheering and singing, the fans would stamp out rhythms on the stands that had the metal structures sounding like cheap tin shakers magnified a thousand times.

I'm afraid I chickened out and left halfway through the final overtime period... wasn't sure I wanted to be around to see what 15000 German fans would look like at the end of the game... was glad of the decision when Italy scored twice just as I was half a block from the hostel. Not that I think anything would have happened, and certainly there was a large contingent of police forces on site to handle any trouble (some of them had horses!), but you know. Hanging out with 15000 disappointed German fans? I'll pass.

But I couldn't resist picking up my very own German T-shirt to celebrate the fact that I'd accidentally turned up in Germany during the world cup. :-)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Baking on the Rhine

It's been stupidly hot for the past couple of days: up to 35 degrees C a lot of the time. So, in celebration of this, a couple of Vancouver girls and I are going to take a cruise on the Rhine; take in a few breezes, some beautiful scenery. Then for afters, we're going to a drag show this evening. Should be fun!

Strike that... the two ladies I was going with have decided on an early night in, in preparation for their long flight home tomorrow, and although I probably would have chickened out on my own anyway, the place we were planning to go appears to no longer be in existence. Now I'm trying to decide whether it's okay to be late to the Jazz Night's "Improvisations with Dong-Ah Broadcasting College Band", or whether I'm just going to wander around downtown until it gets to be too dark. Stay tuned :-)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Glorious day

I don't have to be jealous no matter how fabulous the weather in Ottawa has been today - I guarantee that Heidelberg was just as beautiful. I slept in much later than I had planned (which fortunately was still only 10:30am - I guess I was even more jetlagged than I had realized) but still got to see everything I had planned.

I started with a visit to the Schloss, where I walked the castle grounds exhaustively and then went inside to see the inner courtyard. I elected not to take the guided tour; I could see that the castle was very impressive without it, and I'm not that interested in history. All in all I spent a couple of hours wandering the grounds, then went back down into the marketplace in search of brunch, which I found in the form of a crepe sandwich with emmenthal cheese, salami and an herb mixture including at least rosemary. It may not sound good as a concept, but let me assure you that it was tasty!

Then I ran into one of the guys staying in my dorm room, a young man named Colin, and he talked me into taking a boat ride up the Neckar with him. We spent two and a half hours lazing around, watching the scenery go by and soaking up the sun. We made it as far as the four castles at one of the towns upriver before turning around and coming back; we went through two locks on the journey. It was thoroughly relaxing, much more so than my original plan to cycle the 14 km to those castles, and as it turned out, it was cheaper than renting a bike would have been too.

I followed this up with a show situated at the castle (nestled into the north-west corner in the "Thick Tower," which is open to the world on the outside of the castle, as it has half fallen away, but in which they had constructed two rows of seating on individual balcony levels). The show was "The Youth's Magic Horn" - as far as I can tell this was not the better known composition by Gahler inspired by that collection of poems/ballads, but a rearrangement (or maybe a contemporary setting) by Heiner Kondschak. Nonetheless it was very enjoyable to listen to, and all but one of the singers was quite accomplished (there were 5, and one of the men had obviously not had classical vocal training). In those songs where they were all singing together, the harmonies were fantastic.

Tomorrow I'm heading back to Frankfurt, to take in a little taste of World Cup fever.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I walked into a fairy tale set

Heidelberg is amazing... pedestrian only cobblestone streets, centuries-old stone buildings, humongous churches with elaborate stained glass and bells that ring out the hour, the ruins of a castle looking down from the hillside out on the river valley.

I spent almost an hour on a bridge over the river Neckar, watching the light play over the green and red of the hillside and the town buildings... not even close to an intense sunset (and I was well positioned to miss all of the best sky-colour around a bend in the river) but so pretty nonetheless.

I only hope my camera can do it justice :-)

And now, for sleep! Desperately needed, since I didn't manage to get any on the plane.